On the Autobahn 2 outside Münster police reported a series of crashes on Tuesday evening, as heavy rain was followed in quick succession by blinding sunlight.
Several cars braked heavily as torrential rain began to fall, “but then the sun suddenly came back out and the drivers couldn't see anymore,” a police spokesperson said.
In the worst incident, which took place at 5.25pm, some 14 cars collided with one another, leaving two people dead and 14 injured, three of them seriously. Police also said that the pile up left debris strewn over a 100 metre area.
At almost exactly the same time another multi-vehicle crash took place two kilometres further down the road, involving 26 cars and two trucks. A total of 10 people were injured, three of them seriously.
Due to the large amount of wrecked cars left on the asphalt, police closed the motorway down completely for ten hours, reopening it at 4am on Wednesday.
The German Weather Service (DWD) has released a weather warning for almost the entire country on Wednesday, with the north-west set for a day of heavy rain and storms.
Hamburg and Schleswig Holstein will be battered by hurricane-like winds during the day. While in Schleswig-Holstein the winds will reach hurricane force. On mountain peaks across the country the wind will also be hurricane force.
Gales and heavy rain are set to spread east at a rapid pace on Wednesday morning, with Berlin also set to get a good soaking.
Only south east Bavaria is allowed to sip at the last dregs of summer, with sun and temperatures of 22 C predicted there for the morning.